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Networks of Inventors and the Location of University Research: An Exploration of Italian Data

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Abstract

University-industry knowledge transfer is nowadays a very fashionable research subject, both in economics, and in management and policy studies. "Distance" between the two realms of academic and industrial research has been increasingly called in to explain the extent at which the academic research benefits (or should benefit) the industrial R&D. In particular, empirical research has focussed on two concepts of "distance": geographical and cognitive. However, both kinds of proximity favour industrial R&D performance insofar they are facilitating factors for reducing social distance between academic and industrial researchers, which result in the exchange of knowledge through codified means or the mobility of researchers. We suggest that both classic and more recent contributions to the economics of knowledge, as well as most of the empirical research on the contribution of universities to commercial innovation, imply or openly suggest a number of propositions on social networks, both of corporate researchers and academic scientists, as well as of researchers from both communities. We also suggest that testing those propositions requires the identification of social links among corporate researchers, which in turn calls for data on personal acquaintances and the application of tools taken from social network analysis. We then describe the results of our data collection efforts in that direction (the EPO-INV and EPO-INV-DOC databases), and a few exploratory findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Margherita Balconi & Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2002. "Networks of Inventors and the Location of University Research: An Exploration of Italian Data," KITeS Working Papers 127, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised May 2002.
  • Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp127
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    File URL: ftp://ftp.unibocconi.it/pub/RePEc/cri/papers/wp127BalconiBreschiLissoni.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Paul Almeida & Bruce Kogut, 1999. "Localization of Knowledge and the Mobility of Engineers in Regional Networks," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 45(7), pages 905-917, July.
    2. Allen, Robert C., 1983. "Collective invention," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 1-24, March.
    3. Anthony Arundel & Aldo Geuna, 2001. "Does Proximity Matter for Knowledge Transfer from Public Institutes and Universities to Firms?," SPRU Working Paper Series 73, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cowan, Robin & Zinovyeva, N., 2007. "Short-term effects of new universities on regional innovation," MERIT Working Papers 037, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Sauer, Thomas & Stoetzer, Matthias-Wolfgang & Gerlach, Andrea, 2007. "Forms and regional distribution of knowledge transfer by German universities," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2007,3, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    3. Aldo Geuna & Lionel Nesta, 2003. "University Patenting and its Effects on Academic Research," SPRU Working Paper Series 99, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    4. Joaquín Azagra-Caro & Nicolas Carayol & Patrick Llerena, 2006. "Patent Production at a European Research University: Exploratory Evidence at the Laboratory Level," The Journal of Technology Transfer, Springer, vol. 31(2), pages 257-268, March.
    5. José António Pacheco Sequeira & Aurora A. C. Teixeira, 2011. "Assessing the influence and impact of R&D institutions by mapping international scientific networks: the case of INESC Porto," Economics and Management Research Projects: An International Journal, Open Access International Journals, vol. 1(1), pages 8-19, February.
    6. Bianca Poti' & Emanuela Reale, 2005. "The patenting regime in the Italian public research system: what motivates public inventors to patent," CERIS Working Paper 200510, Institute for Economic Research on Firms and Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY -NOW- Research Institute on Sustainable Economic Growth - Moncalieri (TO) ITALY.
    7. Cowan, Robin & Jonard, Nicolas & Özman, Müge, 2003. "Knowledge Dynamics in a Network Industry," Research Memorandum 003, Maastricht University, Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    8. Gerlach, Andrea & Sauer, Thomas & Stoetzer, Matthias-Wolfgang, 2005. "Formen und regionale Verteilung des Wissenstransfers von Hochschulen: Eine repräsentative Fallstudie für Jena," Jena Contributions to Economic Research 2005,1, University of Applied Sciences Jena, Department of Business Administration.
    9. Van Looy, Bart & Callaert, Julie & Debackere, Koenraad, 2006. "Publication and patent behavior of academic researchers: Conflicting, reinforcing or merely co-existing?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(4), pages 596-608, May.
    10. Giovanni Dosi & Patrick Llerena & Mauro Sylos Labini, 2005. "Science-Technology-Industry Links and the ”European Paradox”: Some Notes on the Dynamics of Scientific and Technological Research in Europe," LEM Papers Series 2005/02, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.

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    Keywords

    Patents; University-industry linkages; Social networks;

    JEL classification:

    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • O34 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Intellectual Property and Intellectual Capital

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